Antigua Raises Stakes over Online Casino Case
Antigua and Barbuda are taking their campaign against the United States up a notch. The country’s attorney at the World Trade Organization, Mark Wendel, said that the United States will have to pay Antigua and Barbuda billions of dollars as the case continues with no end in sight. Antigua and Barbuda is claiming that the American policy regarding online gambling, namely the ban on online casino operations, has damaged the country’s economy and stands in breach of international trade agreements. By banning online casino firms from operating in the American market, the United States is blocking foreign competition from entering into the U.S. gambling market.
At first, Antigua and Barbuda tried to impose trade sanctions on the United States valued at US$ 3.4 billion, but the United States did not comply, saying that online casino doesn’t fall under the jurisdictions that the U.S. gave the World Trade Organization. Now, Antigua and Barbuda representative is saying that if the case continues, the sanctions can reach up to US$ 7 billion. Antigua is not alone in this story as the European Union also filled a $ 15 billion claim against the United States for its withdrawal from the GATS commitments, agreements dealing with international trade laws.
Antigua’s claims might seem baseless, but the figures were not drawn out of fine air. A committee of economists worked the number out, and Mendel says it is “completely defensible”. Although the such is several times the country’s GDP, calculations show that Antigua and Barbuda’ s wealth comes from the business it has with the online casino industry – business that the United States’ actions have damaged significantly. Hopefully, the United States will find a political and legal frame to stop the ban over the online gambling industry relieving the tension from both outside of the country and from within.